Thursday, February 22, 2007

Heresy's kiss

We are having a parish retreat with Father Simeon Gallagher this week.

He is using as the basis of the retreat Mathew 2: 1-11 – the story of the Magi.

Last night he talked about evil – Herod in the story. He pointed out that Herod/evil is with us still, putting on a pious, positive face to conceal his true actions and intentions.

Fr. Gallagher said we can’t/won’t confront evil because of what he called the three “P’s” – Passivity, Privacy and Peace (at all coasts).

Good stuff, all. Lots to think about. I’ve been thinking of the privacy problem.

We have made a false god of privacy. Whatever you do in the privacy of your home is your own business – drugs, sex, porn, etc.

But by allowing privacy to become such a sacred value we have allowed the degradation of other values.

And it did not take a frontal assault by evil (ala Lord of the Rings). It has crept in disguised as being progressive, open, nonjudgmental, and so on.

Take sex. Sex, once at least ideally reserved for marriage - I’m not naïve enough to say that was the practice in many cases, but it was at least the ideal – is now accepted as a part of dating. So are living together. My wife commented on a co-worker who is a “devout” churchgoer with God forever on her lips, yet she is living with her boyfriend and sees no conflict.

But while some of us might dismiss sex as just a small thing, and not really evil if we love each other or we’re “engaged,” it is one of the tools used by evil to open us to greater evils and to ultimate corruption (think Screwtape).

Sexual immorality begets broken families, dysfunction, crime, and violence – even terrorism (would Osama Bin Laden be able to argue about the corruption of Western Society if there weren’t some truth in his claims?).

G. K. Chesterton (as usual) foresaw this.

In a 1926 essay called “The Next Heresy” he wrote:

For the next great heresy in going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back … The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.

It’s not coming, G. K. It’s here.


Paul Pennyfeather said...

I'm shocked you found a priest who questioned the value of "peace at all costs." I thought such things were heresy to the groovy, modern Church. I lift my glass to Father Simeon Gallagher!

"The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan."

Actually, GKC was a little off. The madness of tomorrow (in GKC's time) was from Moscow. It was the madness from the day-after-tommorow that came from Manhattan.

Today the madness comes from Mecca, via Manhattan. Too bad we don't have GKC to help set us on the proper course.

A Secular Franciscan said...

Ah, but even in Chesterton's day the greater danger was from Manhattan (Moscow would ultimately collapse - with a struggle, true - and I suspect any good Catholic of the time would have seen that)- and "Mecca" would not be the problem it is is Manhattan had not seduced us.

Manhattan attacked our souls, not our nations.

Billiam said...

The rise of Liberalism is what has poisoned society. Fathers are no longer needed, the feminization of boys, the rise of the un-man, and the offensive against belief in God. All this stems from the Liberalism that was reborn in the 60's. It may have started on the coasts, but today it reaches even the heartland.